Bengaluru: Ending the long wait and speculations, the BJP Central leadership on Friday appointed first-time MLA B.Y. Vijayendra, the son of former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, as the new President of the State Unit of the party.
BJP National President J.P. Nadda signed off on Vijayendra’s appointment, which comes six months after the party’s humiliating defeat at the hands of the Congress in the Assembly polls held in May this year.
Vijayendra replaces Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, who was on an extension. With this, Yediyurappa and Vijayendra become the first father-son duo to occupy the top post in the State BJP.
Yediyurappa, who was President of the State Unit three times, retired from electoral politics last year. Vijayendra had played a crucial role in the party winning seats like Sira, K.R. Pet and Basavakalyan, where it had little following, in the by-elections held in 2019.
The elevation of Vijayendra, who was a State BJP Vice-President, comes at a time when the party appears to be in disarray following it’s Assembly poll defeat and several BJP leaders including a few MLAs, looking to cross over to the ruling Congress.
The 47-year-old Vijayendra represents Shikaripur Assembly segment in Shivamogga district, which was held by his father B.S. Yediyurappa eight times since 1983.
Vijayendra’s appointment is said to be a calculated move aimed at undoing the damage caused to the BJP from the alleged neglect of Yediyurappa, who stepped down as the Chief Minister in July, 2021. This was seen in political circles as a blunder that helped the Congress make inroads into the Lingayat community, the BJP’s traditional vote base.
BJP High Command believed that Vijayendra is the best bet for reviving the party’s fortunes in Karnataka ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha polls to take place in the next few months. Vijayendra is a Law graduate from Jagadguru Renukacharya College in Bengaluru. His political rise began in 2018 when he strove hard to get the BJP ticket from Varuna Constituency in Mysuru district to contest against Dr. Yathindra Siddharamaiah, son of Chief Minister Siddharamaiah.
Following his appointment yesterday, Vijayendra has thanked all the top party leaders for giving him the responsibility of organising the party in Karnataka. He further said the party will elect Opposition Leaders in both Houses of the State Legislature on Nov. 17. “I have discussed the issue with BJP National President J.P. Nadda. Observers from the High Command will be present during the announcement,” he added.
Senior BJP MLAs Basavaraj Bommai, also a former Chief Minister, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, C.N. Ashwathnarayan, also a former Deputy Chief Minister, R. Ashok and V. Sunil Kumar are said to be in the race for the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly.